Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vox.com denies occurrence of 1970s oil shock

In that previously criticized here MH17 storystream on Vox, Matthew Yglesias contributes One Fact That Explains How Europe Could Crush Russia's Economy. The actual discussion in the text is about trade, but the accompanying chart shows Russia's GDP compared to Europe, the point being that Russia's economy is not that large compared to combined European Union GDP.

So since this new data-driven wonk journalism seems to be what the kids are doing these days, we've presented up above 1972 GDP (obtained from the World Bank online databank) for the USA, France, Germany, the UK, and the USA compared to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We tried to get more Arab countries such as UAE and Iraq but the data was not available.

By the logic of the Yglesias calculation, isn't it astounding that a 1973 trade embargo by countries that don't even register on a chart of GDP (and others with no data at all) could cause such disruption to western countries?

There must be something special about those countries that is not in the chart (or in the Vox Russia chart) -- what could it be?